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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Being Rachel

Eight-year-old Rachel White’s transgender journey has only begun. Despite support at home and school, there is no easy path ahead.

The impassioned rhetoric around transgender rights means nothing to 8-year-old Rachel White. She’s transgender, but she doesn’t want to talk about bathrooms, or laws, or transitioning. She wants to play with a hair-styling app and a remote-control truck, run with her friends on the playground and enjoy the love and support of her family.

Explore this family's journey though words, photographs, videos and graphics.

A transgender child’s journey

By Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review
The little girls are dressed up and made up, hair sprayed, curled and twirled into intricate patterns, playing at being models. All 15 of them sit closely together on the floor while older women sit and stand, checking themselves in the mirrors, last-minute fixes in preparation for their grand entrance.
Rachel White, 7, is wearing black tights and a white lacy undershirt. A red dress fits neatly over it all. Rachel’s teal green earrings glint in the harsh electric light. Her dirty-blonde hair is pulled into a messy bun. Read the full story »

Photo gallery: Step into Rachel’s shoes

Transgender rights are a topic of national discussion. But what transgender means for 8-year-old Rachel White is that she lives as the gender she has identified with since she was a small child, with her family’s love and support.

Transgender discrimination

The National Transgender Discrimination Survey collected 6,456 responses from a broad spectrum of transgender organizations and individuals. 348 respondents were from Washington.

SOURCE: National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force


Just Want Privacy holds meeting at West Central Community Center

Related story: On a Friday night, about 50 people gather at the West Central Community Center. The stated purpose of the meeting is an initiative drive by the group Just Want Privacy to put the state rule allowing gender choice for bathrooms on the ballot.

Danny Martinez: ‘I just felt kind of hopeless’

Related story: Danny Martinez, a 16-year-old transgender teen, lived in the closet until a year ago.
“Being in the closet is kind of miserable,” Martinez says. “I just kind of felt hopeless knowing that no one would ever call me the right thing.”
Martinez is skinny and androgynous looking, and used to have a different, more feminine name. A name that never fit.
“I just had this certain discomfort when people would say my birth name,” Martinez says.

Editorial: Transgender child’s story deepens understanding

The remarkable story of the transgender child in today’s Spokesman-Review is sure to spark confusion, outrage and sympathy. If it leads to sober reflection and thoughtful debate, all the better. That would be a welcome step forward from the contretemps we’ve witnessed through the prism of the bathroom issue. Read full editorial »